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The view on foot

Iowa man plans to publish 9-volume set featuring every town in state; Emmet County will be in first volume

By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer | Jul 1, 2021

Tyler Sullivan has a history of running; currently he’s on his feet seeing every town in Iowa at eye level. He’s nearly wrapped up twelve counties in northwest Iowa, including Emmet County, whose pictures and poems will make up the first of nine volumes spanning the state. Sullivan has visited 913 towns in 90 counties, totaling about 1,100 miles. He’s gone through four pair of running shoes.

Tyler has been running for a long time, but this adventure began in 2015 when Tyler was in a long distance relationship. The North Liberty native would leave Iowa City for the weekend to drive through these counties and towns he had never heard of, all to see his girlfriend in Mason City.

“I’d never been that far north before,” Sullivan said.

When he came north, he would pick a new place to visit. When she came to visit him, she would choose. Ultimately, the two went their separate ways, but Sullivan thought, “There has to be more history in these towns.”

In 2018, Sullivan realized he’d run a mile in a 200-person town, and realized he had discovered something.

“There’s something special about every place in Iowa,” Sullivan said. He pulled on his running shoes to find out what that was in each specific incorporated place in Iowa.

His travels to Emmet County happened in 2018, and on a return trip in March, 2020 just after the pandemic hit. He photographed the one sign that marks Maple Hill on the east central side of the county, an old stenciled sign in front of the railroad tracks. He stopped in Armstrong, Ringsted, Dolliver, Gruver and Wallingford, and said he was drawn in by the Estherville Meteorite.

To read the rest of this story, pick up a copy of the July 1, 2021 Estherville News. Subscribe by calling 712-362-2622.